ATLANTA — There are 53 days left until Super Bowl LIII, and Channel 2 Action News learned there could be a major transportation issue.
Thousands from across the country will be coming into the city.
Sources told Channel 2's Dave Huddleston some MARTA bus drivers could strike just days before the big game because they are upset about pay and required overtime.
Some MARTA riders said the strike would have a crippling effect on the city.
"That would definitely be impactful," one rider said.
Huddleston got a call about the issue two weeks ago and even more calls in the last couple of days where bus operators said they are so frustrated, they would strike to cripple the city during the Super Bowl, forcing MARTA to give them a pay raise.
The bus drivers are currently in contract talks with MARTA management.
One rider said he didn't like the idea: "It would be a terrible hardship for the riders. There are many many people here in communities that have to rely on the bus and rail service."
The bus operators Huddleston spoke with said they have not received a raise in 10 years.
The starting salary is around $15 an hour. Huddleston reached out to MARTA management about the possible strike.
They sent the following statement that reads in part:
"We fully expect to arrive at a fair contract. The ongoing threats from bus operators to stage a walk out or any slowdown, during the Super Bowl or at any time, violate the MARTA act and are an extreme disservice to our riders."
In November, Channel 2 Action News filed an open records request and first reported a significant shortage of MARTA workers.
We learned MARTA is down 73 mechanics, 200 bus drivers, 15 rail operators and 39 police officers.
MARTA's CEO Jeffrey Parker said they are taking extra steps to make sure they have enough help during the Super Bowl, but that may have been before talk of a possible strike.
Cox Media Group